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Take One: 1974-1979


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Amazon's Hallelujah Chicken Run Band Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Oct. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Samy Ben Redjeb
  • ASIN: B000UUQS5Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,234 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mudzimu Ndiringe
2. Kare Nanhasi
3. Ngoma Yarira
4. Manheru Changamire
5. Tamba Zimba Navashe
6. Mutoridodo
7. Mukadzi Wangu Ndomuda
8. Sekai
9. Gore Iro
10. Murembo
11. Mwana Wamai Dada Naye
12. Musawore Moyo
13. Alikulila
14. Ndopenga
15. Ngatiende Kumusha
16. Shumba Inobva Mu Gomo
17. Tinokumbira Kuziva
18. Chaminuka Mukuru

Product Description

CD Description

The Hallelujah Chicken Run Band (HCR) was one of the seminal bands that formed the explosive Zimbabwean music scene in the 1970s and one of the first acts to develop the staccato style of guitar playing for which Zimbabwe is known today, a "breathless, loopy, dampened plucking that mimics traditional mbira thumb-piano melodies" (Rolling Stone). This collection features early appearances by the legendary Thomas Mapfumo on drums and vocals and includes 18 of HCR’s biggest and most influential hits (including a series of singles for which the band received eight gold records in 1974), as well as rare legendary songs. At the time many home-grown African pop bands were funded by their respective culture ministries, whilst HCR was actually funded by the white owners of the Mangura Copper Mine where the band were employed to entertain the mine-workers after long shifts underground. Two members of the group, including Thomas Mapfumo had day jobs at a local chicken farm (chicken run). Uponing hearing this the mine's boss shouted "Hallelujah!" - and then proceeded to christen the band with the name Hallelujah Chicken Run Band! A 16-page booklet tells the complete history of the group with rare photographs and a full detailed discography and is edited by renowned critic Banning Eyre. To be advertised in Songlines and fRoots Tracks: Mudzimu Ndiringe / Kare Nanhasi / Ngoma Yarira / Manheru Changamire / Tamba Zimba Navashe / Mutoridodo / Mukadzi Wangu Ndomuda / Sekai / Gore Iro / Murembo / Mwana Wamai Dada Naye / Musawore Moyo / Alikulila / Ndopenga / Ngatiende Kumusha / Shumba Inobva Mu Gomo / Tinokumbira Kuziva / Chaminuka Mukuru Also available from Analogue Africa: AACD061 The Green Arrows '4 Track Recording Session' OPH002 (LP) The Green Arrows '4 Track Recording Session'

BBC Review

One silver lining of the cloud that currently hangs over the music industry is the prevalence of re-issues. The financial squeeze that's curtailed investment in new productions has made it more attractive for record companies to scour their vaults for forgotten gems, and let's face it they don't make 'em like they used to, whichever way you look at it. They're not making much of anything at all these days in Zimbabwe, which was called Rhodesia when the songs on this cracking compilation were recorded there between 1974 and 1979 by a seminal band, originally set up to entertain the workers at the Mangura copper mine.

It's a must for fans of southern African music, and a great insight into the early career of Thomas Mapfumo, who was with them for most of their first year. He's represented on four murky sounding but atmospheric cuts written just as he and guitarist Joshua Hlomayi were beginning to move away from their mix of Afro-rock, rumba, cha-cha-cha and 'copyright' soul material (covers), towards a more original neo-traditional sound. 'Ngoma Yarira' finds Mapfumo's distinctive yodel-like vocal style almost fully formed, along with the shuffling triple-time groove he would later coin 'chimurenga'. Another standout track from this period is the ghostly, throbbing 'Alikulila', based on a Malawian traditional tune.

As explained in the detailed, though not entirely complete sleeve notes (e.g. why were there no recordings between 1974 and 1977?) Hallelujah Chicken Run Band personnel was constantly changing, with guests and members leaving for and arriving from other better known groups such as Devera Ngwena and Four Brothers. Though fourteen musicians are listed in the credits, they generally seem to have existed as a five or six-piece, with founder member Daram Karanga's trumpet and Robson Boora's sax frequently softening the tight guitar counterpoint of Adbulah Musa and Hlomayi. The material isn't chronologically sequenced, but it does hang together in an engaging way. Thus, things kick off in confident style with the propulsive rhythms and memorable guitar licks of guitar 'Mudzimu Ndiringe', from 1979. An hour later, you'll be wanting to press replay. --Jon Lusk

Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window

--This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. Halperin on 24 Oct. 2007
Format: Audio CD
This beautiful collection of songs, with intricate ticking rhythms and layered lilting guitar melodies left me wishing I could understand Shona and understand the significance of the songs. From what I have read about HCR the songs in this collection are taken from a mixture of the cleaned up original vinyl and master tapes and are predominantly songs of protest against the then transitionary white government of the time. These songs have something infectious about them; the way the softly sung choruses are repeated over and over and are imbibed with a warmth you rarely find. The brass section is used sparingly and with a great soulful effect injecting a joyful feeling and energy into the mix.

Some of the tracks are faded out seemingly too early as the average track length sits at around 3 minutes, and I wondered if the original recordings had to be short for technical reasons as I wanted some of the tracks to carry on and explore the ground they open up. There is a variety in terms of feeling and style across the tracks on this release, and also a variety in terms of the quality of the recordings. I really loved the opening track `Mudzimu Ndiringe' which has a joyous feeling, and `Kare Nanhasi' for the same reason. Manheru Changamire has a kind of latin feel with it's brassy serenade. Murembo is their most significant song as it was their call to rebellion. Also, watch out for the excellent hidden track after some silence and some conversation on the tail of the last track `Chaminuka Mukuru'. After a little time, the feeling of the music washes over you; and I would encourage everyone to give this album enough time to let it get under your skin - to appreciate it fully. After all, it is an unearthed gem, and such it deserves a bit of quality time with your ears.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic 20 Jun. 2011
By Thaddeus J. Quintin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A friend of mine bought this for me, because it made her think of me, and I must say she was right!

This is a pioneering band in what has become the "sound" of recent Zimbabwe music. Hired to entertain workers at the Mhangura Copper mine, their music took on a life of its own. They began by playing soul music as well as rumba and cha cha songs, but found that they weren't engaging the mine workers. They started playing more traditional songs, mimicking the sounds of the mbira or kalimba on the guitar.

This is the sound that echoes in throughout much of Paul Simon's "Graceland," but it wasn't until I heard this album that I was truly inspired by the intricate guitar work of this style of music.

Highly recommended. Also check out Spirits to Bite Our Ears by Thomas Mapfumo, the singer on this album. It's just as enjoyable.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Rock Solid Album! 8 April 2014
By MamaLove - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Our whole family (ages 5, 8, 13, and parents) LOVES this whole album!
SO great to dance to! So soulful and inspiring and fun!
Thank you Hallelujah Chicken Run Band!!!!!
Find of the year.... 30 April 2014
By Gilbert Mkonto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I used to hear these tracks when I was in early kindy. Never imagined I would lay my hands on this CD. Just directed my friends here. Don't be put off by the band's name. This is a true gem. The front man is still going strong after 40+ years in the business. Good on you Dr Mapfumo. I found the track 'Shumba Inobva Mugomo' to be the most sublime track on this album.
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